6 Best CO2 Air Rifle For Target Shooting And Pest Control

If you want an air rifle for plinking, target practice, and the occasional small game hunting, coughing up a $1000 on a PCP rifle may not make much sense. A CO2-powered gun, on the other hand, will be cheaper and easier to use and maintain. 

Not to mention CO2 air rifles come packed with plenty of realistic features, from ejection ports to realistic loading magazines. And some are difficult to tell apart from their conventional rifle counterparts. 

Also, cO2 rifles have no recoil and are incredibly fun to shoot. Most of them feature an auto and semi-auto mode. However, finding the best co2 air rifle can be challenging with the vast array of options available. 

As a big fan of co2 air rifles myself, I decided to compile a list of the best Co2 air rifles I have used. Also, I have included a guide on what to look for when looking for a Co2 air rifle. Here is my list.

A Quick View Of Top Rated co2 Air Rifle

Image
DPMS Full Auto SBR CO2-Powered BB Air Rifle DSBR
Caliber
4
Weight
6.21 lbs
Muzzle Velocity
430 FPS
Image
Crosman CFAST1X Full Auto ST-1 CO2-Powered BB Air Rifle And...
Caliber
.177 caliber steel BBs
Weight
7 lbs
Muzzle Velocity
430 FPS
Image
Crosman CAK1 Full or Semi-Auto 4.5mm BB Air Rifle
Caliber
4
Weight
8 lbs
Muzzle Velocity
430 FPS
Image
SIG SAUER MCX .177 Caliber 88Gr CO2-Powered 30rd Semi-Auto...
Caliber
4.5
Weight
2.20 lbs
Muzzle Velocity
700 FPS
Image
Crosman Bushmaster BMPWX Full Auto CO2-Powered BB Air Rifle...
Caliber
4.5
Weight
6.5 lbs
Muzzle Velocity
430 FPS
Image
Springfield Armory M1 Carbine Blowback CO2 BB Air Rifle, 177...
Caliber
4.5
Weight
5.7 lbs
Muzzle Velocity
425 FPS


Last update on 2024-04-15 / Please note that Prices and Availability Are Subject To Change /Paid links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The DPMS Full Auto SBR CO2-Powered BB Air Rifle DSBR; is surprisingly accurate and has one of the most realistic designs of all rifles reviewed. It fires 1400 rounds per minute, and its co2 canisters are pretty cheap, so you can buy them in bulk. 

At number two is the Crosman CAK1 Full or Semi-Auto 4.5mm BB Air Rifle. The main reason I put it at number two is its construction. It is made from plastic and metal parts, making it more durable than most other Co2 rifles. In addition, it has decent penetration and should be effective at scaring away certain nuisance small animals.

best co2 air rifle

How do Co2 Air Rifles Work 

But first, what are Co2 air rifles, and how do they function? Co2 air rifles use compressed carbon dioxide gas packed in 12-gram cartridges or 88-gram cylinders. When you pull the trigger, some of the gas contained inside the cylinder or cartridge escapes into the barrel.

The sudden drop in pressure causes an explosion that ejects the projectile through the rifle’s barrel. 

What are Co2 air rifles best for?

Due to their lack of recoil and accuracy, Co2 air rifles are excellent for target practice. Also, they are not as powerful as PCP rifles and are best suited for pest control and light hunting. However, some Co2 air rifles provide enough power to hunt small animals.

Benefits CO2 Air Rifles over other air rifles

  • Compared to other air rifles, co2 rifles are incredibly silent as the only sound they produce is when the pellet is ejected from the barrel. 
  • Co2 air rifles are usually bolt action meaning you can make follow-up shots much quicker than spring air rifles. They are also fun to use, thanks to their semi-automatic firing.
  • Unlike spring and PCP air rifles, these rifles have no recoil, and this lack of recoil helps make them much more accurate.
  • It is easier to use than PCP rifles as they use portable gas capsules and cylinders instead of bulky air tanks. To

My Top 5 Best Co2 air Rifles for hunting and Target Shooting

DPMS Full Auto SBR CO2-Powered BB Air Gun

The DPMS full auto SBR Co2 powered BB air gun was an absolute blast in both full auto and semi-auto mode. It looks a lot like a real AR 15 and has some realistic features, including a safety/fire selector and charging handle. 

Accuracy

However, I found this BB gun to be quite accurate at close range. I got tight clusters from a 25-round auto burst from about 10 ft. The accuracy takes a dip from 20 feet and beyond. Though I don’t think this rifle was built to be the most accurate, so this isn’t a big issue.

Fun to shoot

The gun is powered by a 12-gram Co2 canister and has a velocity of 430 FPS. It worked pretty well on paper targets, but on other hard targets, it had limited penetration, especially from a distance. However, it was enjoyable to shoot, and its 6 adjustable stock positions make it easy to handle.

Realistic design

I think the makers of this gun were going for a realistic AR 15 design and aesthetic, and I have to say they nailed it. It is made of plastic, but it looks like a real AR; you can also add a faux reverse threaded barrel shroud at the end. 

25-round drop out magazine

The drop-out magazine on this gun holds 25 BBs. You can use the traditional 4.5mm steel BBs with this rifle. And given how cheap these pellets are, it is an ideal rifle for having fun in your backyard.

What I Liked The Most

  • The gun is a lot of fun to shoot with full auto and semi-auto modes
  • It feels and looks realistic with a safety/fire selector and a charging handle
  • It is surprisingly accurate at close distances
  • It offers decent control, especially when firing in bursts of 3-4 BB pellets

What I Didn’t Like

  • It has minimal penetration, especially from a distance
  • The plastic sights installed are practically useless.

My Final Thoughts

If you want a BB gun solely for the fun of it and don’t want to spend a fortune on a PCP air rifle, this is one I highly recommend. It is enjoyable to shoot and handles well; it also looks very realistic and, with proper maintenance, should last. 

Crosman Full Auto CO2-Powered Air Rifle

The first thing you will notice about this Crosman Full auto Co2-powered air rifle is how realistic it looks. And whether you are a gun enthusiast or not, there is no mistaking which rifle this BB gun is based on. Its AK-47-inspired design looks stunning. 

Full auto with a semi-auto option

Firing this in full auto mode is insanely fun with its 1400 BB per minute firing rate. Though you will burn through the 2 Co2 canisters at full auto, the power is pretty quick. There is a semi-auto mode as well, though. I am not a fan of the 28-round magazine as I think it can hold more BBs, but it is still fun to shoot.

Quality construction

Like most Co2 powered rifles, this one is made largely from plastic. However, it does have some metal parts, and overall it feels heavier than some of the other BB guns I have used. Nevertheless, it handles well and is relatively easy to load BBs into.

Can use AK accessories

If you own an AK, you will be happy to know that you can use some of its accessories on this using a Picatinny rail. This adds to its overall realistic design and feel. The foldable and adjustable buttstock was a nice addition.

Decent enough on some small animals

It first 4.5m .177 caliber steel BBs at a velocity of 430 FPS. This is enough to give it decent penetration, and it should be a good option for dealing with nuisance animals such as squirrels and pests.

What I Liked The Most

  • It is offered at an affordable price tag
  • It looks very realistic and closely resembles the AK-47
  • It is fun to shoot with a firing rate of 1400 BB per minute
  • It is easy to handle and has an adjustable buttstock that is also foldable

What I Didn’t Like

  • The magazines for this rifle are pretty pricey
  • Loses Co2 quite quickly

My Final Thoughts

This BB gun is relatively powerful, especially with a full Co2 canister early on. If you want to have fun and be able to deal with pesky and nuisance pests and animals, this is the rifle for you. It should help deal with certain animals such as iguanas.

Bushmaster BMPWX Full Auto MPW CO2-Powered BB Air Rifle

This Bushmaster BMPWX Co2-powered air rifle is a bit pricey compared to some of the others on the list. So is it worth the additional cost? From my experience with this rifle, I would say it is worth the extra price.

Realistic design and feel

Its brown and black color combo looks fantastic, and it is hard to differentiate it from a real AR 15. It has some accessories added that add to its realism. This includes a red dot sight and an accessory rail.

Fun to shoot

With a firing rate of 1400 BBs per minute, I had a lot of fun shredding soda cans with this BB gun. The only complaint I have is the magazine which holds 25 rounds only. Of course, you will be reloading quite often at full auto, but I wouldn’t say this is much of a problem.

Decent power

This rifle is powered by 2 12 gram Co2 canisters that deliver a decent 430 FPS muzzle velocity. And it holds up well compared to cheaper options. I compared it to the Umarex series of BB guns, and the magazines do not break like the Umarex guns.

Easy to load

I found it to be relatively easy to load, and just like a real AR 15, it does have a speedloader. It also has a realistic blowback option. However, the speedloader tends to break quite easily, and mine broke quicker than expected.

What I Liked The Most

  • It looks realistic, complete with a red dot sight and mounting rail
  • Is fun to shoot in full auto mode 
  • It is very well made and feels more durable than most other BB guns
  • It is quite accurate from about 25 yards

What I Didn’t Like

  • The magazine holds 25 rounds only 
  • The speedloader is terrible and breaks easily

My Final Thoughts

This rifle is made by Bushmaster, the same people behind the ar 15. As such, you can expect incredible quality. And indeed, when compared to other rifles, including the DPMS, its quality is unmatched and will last you longer than other guns. Overall it is also the best Co2 air rifle with scope. 

Umarex USA, Legends Cowboy, .177 Caliber, Lever Action

The Umarex USA, legends cowboy .177 caliber rifle should pick your interest if you are into a more old-school look. This is a level-action Co2-powered rifle that will make you feel like a real-life cowboy in the wild west.

Level action operated rifle.

It fires .177 caliber BB cartridges at a velocity of up to 600 FPS. I found it hard-hitting at about 25 yards and can be an excellent rifle for dealing with those squirrels and pesky groundhogs. It comes with 10 BB cartridge casings.

It looks and works like the real thing.

The overall design of this gun is stunning, and loading and clambering shells is a great experience, especially if you are a fan of level action rifles such as the Winchester 1873. Like the other rifles on the list, it is powered by 2 12-gram Co2 canisters.

Construction and weight

It is made from mainly plastic, which is to be expected for such as BB gun. But one of the best things about it is its weight. It weighs only 1 pound, which is manageable for most people. 

Accurate for a BB gun

Compared to some of the other BB guns I have used, this is one of the most, if not the most accurate. I am able to get groups of 10 shots from 6 yards at about 1 inch center to center, which is incredibly accurate.

What I Liked The Most

  • It is surprisingly accurate, especially for a BB gun
  • It has a realistic feel and operation of a real level action rifle
  • Good performance and gives 110 shots from the 2 Co2 canisters
  • It is a lightweight gun that is fun to shoot

What I Didn’t Like

  • The casings fly out of the top, and it’s easy to lose them
  • You cannot use the safety when the rifle is cocked

My Final Thoughts

The design of this BB gun stays true to the Winchester 94. So if you are a fan of lever-action rifles, notably the Winchester 94, this will be a great BB gun to buy. It offers the closest experience to the real thing compared to other similar rifles. 

SIG SAUER MCX Pellet Flat Dark Earth Air Rifle

Another AR 15-inspired BB rifle, the SIG SAUER MCX pellet flat dark earth air rifle stays true to the design of the ar 15. It has a nice golden color with black highlights that blend exceptionally well. 

Accurate rifle

Compared to most other rifles, this is entirely accurate. I was able to get a 5-inch diameter circle grouping from 30 rounds. You can improve accuracy by adding a red dot sight and can take a Picatinny raid mod. 

Quite powerful

This rifle fires 0.177 caliber pellets at 1250 FPS making it one of the more powerful Co2 rifles on the market. It is a semi-auto rifle, and the magazine can hold up to 30 rounds, which is more than what you get with some other rifles. 

88 or 90-gram Co2 canister

Unlike the other options on the list, this one uses either an 88 or 90-gram Co2 canister. And as you might expect, this lasts longer than the 2 12 gram canister you get with other rifles.  

Good construction

While it is made of plastic, it also has metal parts that make it durable. The synthetic stock isn’t adjustable like in other models. Most non-functioning parts are metallic from forward assist and bolt release to the brass deflectors.

What I Liked The Most

  • It is more accurate than most other BB guns
  • It has decent power and muzzle velocity higher than most other BB guns
  • It uses a larger Co2 canister that lasts longer than the typical 12-gram canister

What I Didn’t Like

  • There is no way of knowing how much Co2 is left or how many rounds are left.
  • It is not as lightweight as other BB rifles.

My Final Thoughts

This is a great BB rifle; it is pretty powerful, though not powerful enough to take down small animals. Nonetheless, you will have a lot of fun shooting cans and other targets with this rifle; and it is one of the best co2 air rifles for target shooting.

Know These Facts Before Buying A Co2 air rifle

When searching for the best Co2 air rifle, there are several things you will have to consider. These will help you know which rifle is worth your money and which is not. Here are the main things to consider.

Barrel Material:

The barrel material is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a co2 air rifle. Most guns have either aluminum or steel barrels or even polymer-jacketed barrel. Aluminum is lighter but has a shorter life expectancy, while steel will last longer but is heavier and more expensive.

Frame construction: 

Most Co2 air rifles Fram made from plastic. However, some feature metal parts that make them more durable. Though they cost a little bit more than 100% plastic rifles, these rifles tend to be more durable. 

The muzzle velocity

You are most likely buying a Co2 air rifle for plinking, target practice, or having fun with a less dangerous gun than your real one. The muzzle velocity can be an important factor to consider, depending on your needs.

If you want to use the rifle on cans and other similar targets or even board, you may want a gun with a higher velocity, such as the SIG SUER MXC. A 400 FPS or more will be sufficient if it’s for general fun. 

Noise levels

Co2-powered guns can be a bit noisy when fired. So if you are looking to use one in your backyard, it is important to check its noise level. However, you can also use a sound suppressor to minimize the noise.

The capacity of the cartridge

How many BB pellets a Co2 rifle can hold also matters. These cartridges can be pricey, so you want a gun that can hold a decent amount of Co2 cartridges. Most Co2 will feature 20 or more round magazines. And for target practice, 30 or more rounds is good enough. Ideally, the more the magazine/ ammo can hold, the better.

Stock Material:

Another important factor is the stock material used in your co2 air rifle or pellet gun. A good, durable stock will make your gun more comfortable holding and shooting for extended periods. Some materials that are popular choices for manufacturers are wood, Synthetic, and carbon stock.

Adjustable stock

Not every Co2 air rifle on the market comes with an adjustable stock with the stock tube. However, the adjustable stock makes the gun easy to handle and shoulder, which is important for target practice. As such, as a shooter, it is something you will want to consider.

Semi-auto or single shot

While most Co2 powered rifles tend to be semi-automatic and fully automatic, some are single shots. These are mainly level action rifles designed to be similar to level action bolt rifles. Semi-auto rifles are fun to shoot, but single-shot rifles can be more accurate. So it depends on what you need.

Trigger

A good smooth trigger is very important for accuracy. Most Co2 rifles come with an adjustable trigger, but make sure to test out the one before you buy it. Some can be really bad and require a lot of effort to pull the trigger. However, having the double-stage adjustable triggers offer you more precision and enhanced safety than the single-stage trigger.

Safety

Don’t take an air rifle as a toy and expect it to be safe. Safety is of utmost importance when using any type of air gun, so make sure you properly outfit the rifle with a safety guard and trigger lock. Also, Make sure that the gun has a safety feature. For example, many guns come with automatic manual safety and a pop-up trigger guard, Pistol grip, etc. Which should be engaged when handling the rifle. Some also include a manual ejection system if you drop the gun or if something goes wrong.

Barrel Length:

The barrel length is also important when purchasing a co2 air rifle. Most guns have barrels that are around 6 inches long. However, there are some that have 7-inch or even 10-inch barrels. The longer the barrel, the more velocity the gun will generate.

Design

Nowadays, most modern air rifle comes with an elegant and sleek design. So it really depends on your personal taste as to what design you prefer. Some people like the traditional bow-and-arrow look, while others prefer more futuristic designs with integrated optics or iron sights and compression stocks.

Is That Water Resistant

Most Co2 airguns are water-resistant, but make sure to read the specific model you’re looking at. Not all are fully waterproof, and you may find that your rifle needs some extra coating to make it water-resistant.

Does it Come With A Sight/ Scope?

For target practice or even small game hunting, it’s important to have a sight or scope on your air rifle. Without one, you’ll find yourself missing bullseyes more often than not. Most firearms come with sights and scopes installed from the factory, but not all Co2 rifles do. So be sure to read the product description or ask a retailer if the gun you’re interested in comes with sights/scope.

Weight:

Finally, weight is another important consideration when picking an air rifle. Make sure to get a gun that you can comfortably handle and shoot accurately. A heavy rifle will require more effort to cock, aim, and fire, making it less enjoyable for both you and the gun itself. On the other hand, for experiencing a long time shooting, a lightweight air rifle may be a perfect choice. But remember that all of these factors come into play when you’re actually shooting!

Conclusion

Co2 air rifles are fun to shoot and easier to handle than PCP and spring-powered rifles. They are also affordable and are ideal for target practice and plinking. And while they are not without their disadvantages, the foremost being how they are affected by temperature, they are great for beginners and pros alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I hunt with a Co2 air rifle?

While you can kill some small animals with a Co2 powered air rifle, they are sensitive to temperature. Their performance declines in either high or cold temperatures. As such, they are not the best for hunting.

What is the range of most Co2 air rifles?

Co2 air rifles can fire projectiles up to a distance of about 30 yards

Should I pick a Co2 or spring powered air rifle

A Co2 powered rifle will be a good choice for pest control and target practice. However, a spring-powered air rifle will be a better choice for hunting big game.

Which is the Co2 with the highest velocity

The Sig SEUR with its 1250 FPS is the fastest on the list, followed by the Umarex USA, Legends Cowboy.

Should I choose spring or Co2 air rifle?

Spring air rifles tend to be more powerful and require manual cocking, unlike Co2 rifles. As a result, they are best for hunting. Co2 rifles, on the other hand, are easier to handle and are enjoyable for plinking and target practice. Thus the type of rifle you pick will depend on your needs. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top